Thursday, October 3, 2013

Conspiracy theories are more than just a campaign strategy

Political analysts and opposition leaders keep telling us that the current conspiracy theories explosion in the Venezuelan governmental discourse has to do with the approaching December 8 municipal elections: This is an election year, so claiming that problems are caused by sabotage and “economic war” by puppets of the Empire, is a way of diverting attention from the real issues.
This is only partly true.

First, it is very hard to correlate the peaks in the government’s conspiratorial theorizing and electoral periods in Venezuela. For the past 14 years Venezuelans have gone to the ballots almost every year, sometimes two times in the same year.

Second, radical political views have an elective affinity with conspiracy theories. This has been consistently pointed out by authors from Hofstadter to Furet.


My opinion is that most of the people now in the government are real radical revolutionaries who sincerely believe in that what they are doing (not all of course, some are cynical corrupt opportunists). They have a radical Manichean conception of good and evil and a simple, clear, and easy to understand theodicy that helps them frame the struggle against evil. Their theodicy is based on the Leninist idea of imperialism as the last stage of capitalism, and it inevitably includes a lot of conspiracy theories to back it up. According to this view, Socialism is “scientifically” perfect; price controls and planned economy is the right way to go. If things go wrong, the only possible explanation is that the enemies are sabotaging the road to utopia. 

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